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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beauford and the Brouards - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I spoke of a delightful luncheon hosted by Geneviève and Jean-Claude Brouard in honor of Beauford. Today I am sharing more stories about Beauford and the Brouards.

Geneviève would frequently visit Beauford at his Montparnasse studio on rue Vercingétorix. She purchased works from him, paying him handsomely so that he could live as long as possible on the money she paid for them. In addition to inviting him to dine with her family and with friends, she helped him financially in this way.

(1962) Oil on canvas
39.4 x 31.9 inches; 100 x 81 cm
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1962
53 Rue Vercingétorix Paris
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image by Discover Paris!

She remembers that she and Jean-Claude would often run into Beauford in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area (where they viewed the film La Grande Bouffe together). They once found him seated on a bench reading a French newspaper. Geneviève said that Beauford spoke French well (contrary to what is indicated in Beauford’s biography, Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney, which says that he never overcame his “inadequacies in French”). She said that she and Jean-Claude could not have spent so much time with him otherwise because their spoken English was not strong.

Geneviève recounts that Beauford visited the Brouards at home quite often, both when they lived in Paris’ 12th arrondissement and after they moved to Fontainebleau. She remembers that he loved children and described how he much he enjoyed the company of hers in the back seat of the car when she and Jean-Claude would drive him to his apartment in Clamart. She says that her kids have very fond memories of Beauford as well.

After spending an enjoyable evening with the Brouards, Beauford offered to paint Geneviève’s portrait. He intended it to be a gift, but he did not have the money to purchase the canvas. So Geneviève went with him to the art supply store and paid for the canvas that he selected.

Geneviève would then go to Beauford’s studio on rue Vercingétorix every Saturday morning to sit for her portrait. Each time, she sat in the same armchair – the chair that Beauford had all of his subjects sit in when he captured their likenesses on canvas.

The result was the painting shown below.

Portrait of Geneviève Brouard
(1964) Oil on canvas
15 x 12.6 inches; 40 x 32 cm
Signed on back: Beauford Delaney 1964
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
Image by Discover Paris!

It is one of Geneviève’s most treasured remembrances of Beauford.

Les Amis dedicates this article to Jean-Claude Brouard, who passed away on May 27, 2014. May you rest in peace, Jean-Claude.

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